“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” Well, that saying may have more than a literal meaning, but for the Bryson and Ossola families, meeting halfway in Italy was a fantastic adventure. It all started over the summer with the discussion of whether the long distance to India could be endured, along with the smells, food, etc. After sharing that we would gladly meet them halfway in Europe for a trip, wheels started spinning, internet searches were done, determining that the best soccer match for Thanksgiving week would be in Turin, Italy. End result — a whirlwind trip of Italy with great friends!
Stop 1: Turin, Italy for the Juventus vs Manchester City Match
We were able to fulfill one of our boys’ wishes of hitting up one more European soccer game while living in India. If one has never attended a soccer match in Europe, it is an event. Unlike American sports where we file to our seats after the game begins, leave to buy food during the game, Europeans take their soccer a bit more serious. No one arrives late and rarely leaves their seat. There is definitely a reverence for the game in Europe. The most memorable moment of the night, though may have been the street wandering done for at least an hour trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel — buses completely packed, taxis hard to find. Turin has not figured that out yet, as we were not alone in the pursuit of transportation. We finally had a few people that were packing up their merchandise booths take pity on us and offered to get us back to our hotel.
We arrived in Turin around 9am Wednesday morning so we had some time before the game to take in some sights. We saw the City Palace, visited the church where the Shroud of Turin is located and did TripAdvisor’s #1 recommendation — the Egyptian museum. Hailey found it troubling that we were in Italy visiting Egypt at a museum but I must say it was an impressive display.
Turin street performers and our first taste of Italian pizza — the boys ordered “American pizza” which had French fries and hot dogs for toppings.
Stop #2: Florence, Tyler’s favorite!
We left unified Italy’s first capitol city of Turin, and headed to it’s second capitol city — Florence — where 1/3 of the world’s art treasures reside and the first European city with paved streets. We celebrated Thanksgiving on this day with a full Thanksgiving dinner thanks to our friend, Amy, who wandered across an American sports bar offering turkey with all the trimmings — the first our family has had in three years. Watching some American football on big screens at the restaurant was another pull for the group as it is something we miss.
Climbing all the way to the Duomo in Florence gave us incredible views of the city. Despite the effort to get to the top, the kids agreed that the views at the top were better than the one at the Academie where Michelangelo’s “David” statue is on display. Hailey did not appreciate looking at a large statue of a naked man and the boys got plenty of chuckles over it but it was the first time I had seen it and it is incredible.
Stop #3: Rome — the eternal city and current capitol of Italy — and the Vatican — the world’s smallest sovereign state
We were losing part of our group’s energy by the time we arrived in Rome, so some opted rest at the hotel Friday afternoon — it may have had something to do with the late nights going on in the boys’ rooms. But that didn’t deter the rest of us — adults + Hailey in walking the town making stops at the Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and of course a gelato shop!
The Trevi Fountain in Rome
On our last full day, Saturday, we crammed in all that we could and still keep everyone happy. We covered the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Vatican City. The Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel were actually toured twice — the boys just couldn’t get enough of it! Just kidding — we missed the turn the first time to walk directly from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter’s Basilica so we amused many tourists as we walked through a second time incredibly fast.
Technically, the Ossola’s traveled more than halfway to meet the Bryson family in Italy but we are so grateful that we had the experience to meet such great friends, tour an incredible part of the world, and appreciate the diversity that is in this planet! Thank you Ossola’s for meeting us halfway!